(Fredericton, NB) – The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is calling on the New Brunswick Government to work as expediently as possible to meet the five hydraulic fracturing moratorium conditions set out on December 18, 2014 to their satisfaction. The industry has economic potential in the province and as such, every attempt should be made to develop it if responsibly possible.
“The five conditions appear to be a nebulous mix of objective and subjective standards that can only be fulfilled and satisfied by the government itself,” said Joseph O’Donnell, chamber president. “We are concerned that it signals that New Brunswick is closed for business particularly given the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been invested in the industry, which may now never see a return for those companies. Our primary concern is that political agendas will get in the way of economic agendas and that the conditions attached and future policy will be motivated by politics and not by economics and the environment.”
The government must followthrough on their commitment to make factbased decisions and thereby remove emotion from the equation, which is substantial on this issue. The current government has pledged to look under every rock to find economic opportunities for New Brunswickers the natural gas industry is one of these rocks. If this potential source of revenue isn’t going to be developed, then what other sources are going to be used instead?
“We feel that the debate has been mischaracterized as economics versus environment,” added Krista Ross, chamber CEO. “A healthy economy and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive we completely agree that a strong regulatory and enforcement regime are critical. From what we understand, New Brunswick has some of the strictest rules of any jurisdiction and the safety record across Canada has been very good. We will never be able to eliminate all risk from any industry, it’s a question of balance, preparation and mitigation.”
The social license condition will be a particularly difficult hurdle to overcome. Given the rhetoric involved in the current public discourse, it is unlikely that a substantial majority of New Brunswickers will agree to a practice that most do not understand the science behind.
“The chamber encourages the Minister of Energy and Mines to act quickly on gathering the information his government requires to satisfy the conditions to lift the moratorium and make clear how they define a ‘social license’ in this case,” Ross said. “The Premier has already acknowledged that the concept “is hard to define.” If it is hard for the government to define their own policies, then it will be hard for companies to make investments in New Brunswick based on these policies.”
Contact: Krista Ross, Chamber CEO (506) 4588006
With more than 900 members, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is New Brunswick’s largest chamber of commerce. A dynamic business organization, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is actively engaged in policy development that affects the competitiveness of our members and of the Canadian business environment.
P.O. Box 275, 364 York Street, Suite 200, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, E3B 4Y9
Tel: 506 4588006 Fax: 506 4511119